March 18, 2018

Experience AZ

Chef Lisa Dahl helps plant-based comfort foods take root

Comfort foods. We all know them and we all love them. But one Arizona Chef is challenging the traditions of high-fat and high-calorie comfort classics with a lineup of lighter, all vegetable-focused dishes that are equally satisfying for the mind, body and soul.

The trend of swapping meats for power-packed vegetables is on the rise and there are no signs of slowing, with a recent report by restaurant consulting firm Baum & Whiteman naming “plant-based” the top food trend for 2018 and citing vegetable intake over the last decade is up 52 percent for Americans under the age of 40. Already a mecca for healthy living, in the red rocks of Sedona, Ariz. Chef Lisa Dahl has spent two decades making vegetables the unexpected star of a number of tantalizing dishes at her four award-winning restaurants that range in cuisine from Italian to upscale South American. 

Cooking for some of the millions of travelers from across the globe that visit Sedona each year, in search of rugged outdoor adventures and spiritual wellness, continues to inspire Chef Dahl’s creativity. One of her personal favorites, “The Hipster Burger,” is a recipe that dates back to her teenage years made with lentil, quinoa and walnuts, while her divine “Veggie Nirvana” is a spicy, stuffed poblano chile dish and is one of the most requested recipes. 

“Using more healthful ingredients and loads of vegetables to recreate those feelings of comfort and indulgence that we all look for when we eat has become a passion of mine,” said Chef Dahl. “By layering powerful flavors, textures and not being afraid to use a lot of diverse ingredients, you can make a hearty, healthy, comfort-rich dish with a good dose of your veggies for the day.”

Chef Dahl’s favorite soul-satisfying comfort foods with a vegetable-forward twist include:

• The Hipster Burger (Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill) – An original hipster who developed her vegetarian appetite early created this recipe as a teen. The vegetarian burger with a twist, Chef Dahl’s Hipster Burger is made from quinoa, lentils and walnuts and topped with pimentón aioli and Manchego cheese.

• Veggie Nirvana (Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill) – A vegetarian and health nut’s answer to the chimichanga, Chef Dahl’s Veggie Nirvana starts with a roasted chile poblano that is stuffed with soffrito, quinoa, fresh herbs and spices and to finish, is smothered with roasted red pepper romesco sauce, black bean puree, toasted almonds, spicy toasted pepitas and cotija cheese.

• Farro Risotto (Dahl & Di Luca)– Move over mac and cheese, Chef Dahl’s savory veggie-packed Farro Risotto offers all the feel-good vibes of the childhood favorite with fiber-packed farro, sautéed zucchini, onions and peppers.

Chef Lisa Dahl is a James Beard featured chef who has hosted two sold-out dinners at the famed culinary institution in New York City and is recognized for pioneering the culinary scene in Sedona over the last 20 years. As the executive chef and owner of Dahl Restaurant Group, she has earned international acclaim for Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante Italiano, Cucina Rustica, Pisa Lisa and her newest, most buzzed-about addition, Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill. 

For more information on Chef Lisa Dahl and Dahl Restaurant Group, visit